Monthly Meeting Saturday 1 June 2002

after action report (a really long one this time)


We welcome new member Elliot Woodruff whose primary wargaming interest is in the Ancient and Medieval periods.  Elliot has several armies with him in Hong Kong. which will no doubt be making an appearance at a meeting in the near future.


Those Magnificent Men . . .


After several years in the hangar gathering dust and cobwebs, the HKSW Flying Circus took to the air at the meeting, hosted by Andrzej, but this time using fast play Aerodrome rules.  


The intrepid fliers comprised Dan, Dick, Elliot, Jeff, Paul, Philippe and, after the first scenario, Andrzej.  The first encounter pitted 3 Sopwith Camels piloted by Dick, Jeff and Paul versus Dan Elliot and Philippe each mounted in the ubiquitous Fokker Triplane.  The dogfight was fast and furious with the first casualty, to the guns of Elliot's Dridecker being Paul, whose Camel was seen to go down in flames over enemy lines; RIP.  Paul was soon to be avenged by Jeff who, by some handy manoeuvring, shot down Elliot, who luckily walked away unscathed from his wrecked plane.  Lucky too was Jeff who, brought down by Phil, survived a crash landing and was back at the mess in time for dinner.  Dick, finding himself heavily outnumbered, and damaged to boot, decided discretion was the better part of valour, and headed home.   First result 2:1 to the Central Powers.


The next scenario had 2 Junkers J1's (Phil and Elliot) on a photo reconnaissance mission, just behind the Allied lines, escorted by an Albatros DIII flown by Andrzej.  Out to stop them were a mixed bag of Allied planes: an SE5a (Jeff), a Spad VII (Dick), a Sopwith Snipe (Dan) and Sopwith Triplane (Paul).  Adding to the confusion, the object of the photo recon (a crossroads) was not known to the Allied players.  First to be brought down was Andrzej's Albatros, which, while manoeuvring to catch Paul's Tripe, went into a spin thus becoming easy pickings to Dan's Snipe.  Philippe took the next kill, sending Paul to oblivion soon thereafter.  Elliot succeeded in photographing the objective, only to be brought down by Jeff's SE5a.  Phil was left alone and was easy prey to the simultaneous fire of Jeff's and Dick's planes.  Miraculously, both Phil and Andrzej managed to crash land their planes behind friendly lines, and lived to fight another day.  Paul and Elliot . . . RIP.  Second result 3:1 to the Allies.


Next up was an encounter between a Siemens Schuckert DIII (Elliot) a Siemens Schuckert DIV (Phil) a Fokker DVII (Andrzej) versus a Spad XIII (Dick), an SE5a (Jeff), a Sopwith Snipe (Dan) and a Sopwith Camel (Paul).  After the dust settled, the final score was 2:0 to the Central Powers, Phil and Andrzej each bagging one Allied plane each (Jeff again surviving his crash landing) .


The final encounter was an early war outing: 2 Fokker Eindeckers (Elliot and Phil) versus a motley assortment of a DH2 (Jeff), an FE2b (Andrzej), a BE2c (Dan) and a Bristol Scout (Dick).   First blood was to Andrzej's Fee, although Phil's plane gamely kept on flying.  Elliot despatched Andrzej shortly thereafter with a well aimed burst only to fall to Jeff's guns a moment later.  Jeff's guns jammed early in the dogfight and Jeff turned towards the British lines in a wide circle.  After much hammering and swearing the guns were unjammed.  Looking back across the lines Jeff saw that Dan in the Be2c was in serious trouble.   Jeff gunned his engine and waved at Dan as he passed him, the Germans swung to the new threat.   Dan nursed his Be2c back across the lines, looking back in the distance he saw a lone DH2 hurtling towards the earth; Phil had avenged Elliot's untimely demise.  Dan landed, his mission a success, but as he came to a halt his upper wing crumpled and fell forward, nearly every strut had been shot away.  Jubilant to be alive, Dan went to the Mess and with a shot of whisky toasted the brave pilot of the DH2 who had sacrificed himself so that he could live.  RIP Elliot, Jeff and Andrzej.  Score 2:1 to the Central Powers.


The man of the match was undoubtedly Philippe, who survived being shot down and ended the day with 4 confirmed kills.  Jeff's tally stood at 3˝ when he unfortunately went to meet his maker.


A campaign will soon  be started where pilots will be given the opportunity of showing their true mettle.  Details will be posted shortly.  In the meantime, check out a brief overview of the Aerodrome rules and whilst your at it, check out the pilots hall of fame.


Dakka, Dakka, Dakka . . . 




Chris Bridges hosted a WWII 1/300th scale armour engagement between Brits (Chris B and Chris L) and Germans (Peter H and Liza) 1944/45 using Command Decision III rules.  Here is his view of the game:


The forces and objectives were chosen at random by picking cards from a cup.


The Forces


The British had the random chance of picking up 1 of 8 different orders of battle:

  • Two were weak veteran Airborne Infantry battalions one with a tank squadron in support, the other with an AT battery as support.

  • Two were weak armoured regiments (6 tanks) with infantry support.

  • Two were weak infantry battalions with tank support.

  • One was a weak armoured car Recon Regiment with infantry and armour support.

  • One was an elite Commando with armour support.

The Germans had the random chance of picking up 1 of 7 different orders of battle:

  • Four were weak Panzer grenadier Battalions with various amounts of tanks support from 1 Tiger to 2 or 3 Mk IV's or Panthers.

  • One was a veteran Panzer Recon unit with armour support.

  • Two were weak infantry battalions with SP AT Gun support.

The German forces were generally weaker overall by about 2 to 1 in armour and 4 to 3 in infantry.  However, this could be balanced by the greater rates of fire given to panzer grenadiers.


Similarly about five objectives could have been chosen.  The one chosen for the game was that the British had to hold two of the three towns on the board (A & B).  The Germans, holding Town C, were to take Town A.  The German objectives were unknown to the British commander.


The game started badly for the Germans with the random forces for the British being a Commando with tank support (2 Churchills and an Achilles) and a weak tank regiment (6 Shermans ).  These were distributed to Towns B and A, respectively.


The Germans were doubly unfortunate in collecting one of the weak infantry battalions with two StuGs and a panzer grenadier unit with only 2 Mk IV's.


Now, the idea of the objectives were, given the imbalance of forces, that the Germans may still be able to have a possibility of winning.  Thus, for this game the British would have to split their forces between the 2 towns, not knowing that the Germans could consolidate their forces and attack only one town.  Therefore, the Germans could possibly have local superiority of forces.


The British Plan


·         To hold Town A and the surrounding area with the Tank Regiment. 

·         To hold Town B with dug in Commandos and their tank support.


The German Plan


Now this is where things went really bad for the Germans. 

·         To attack Town A with the panzer grenadiers and Mk IVs.

·         To attack Town B with the German infantry.


The Game


Through a misunderstanding of his orders the German commander launched a spirited attack with his infantry battalion across open fields against two troops of Commandos with a troop of Churchills in support.  The Commandos were also supported by their MMG troop in the buildings of the town, producing a lethal crossfire.  At the same time, the German infantry were supported by an AT Gun and 2 platoons of StuG IV's which fired, rather ineffectually, at the town. 


As can be imagined, very few of the Germans made it across the fields and less made it back.  There were no casualties on the British side.


Meanwhile, the panzer grenadiers were moving slowly up the board and were severely punished whenever they broke cover by the British units now moving north from Town A.  Eventually, they stalled about halfway up the board after the attack on Town B failed and the Germans realised that the British forces were now to strong to be overcome.




Given the disparity of forces it was unlikely that the Germans were going to win even if they had followed orders correctly.  However, that was the main reason for the random nature of the objective and troop selection adopted.  Often, in real life, the objectives are bigger than the forces that are available.  In developing this game it was felt that it was more important that the player feels he/she has done his/her best regardless of result. 


The forces were organised to be as realistic as possible and to facilitate understanding of the basic components of Command Decision III.


In the end, this was achieved and in the process we all had some fun.


And here is Chris Lam's version of the event:


In a Command Decision 3 (WWII) game, sides were randomly chosen with Commander Pete being paired with Lisa as the Germans and the two Chris’s as the British. Chris L was the Commander of the British forces and gave orders to Chris B for execution (as Chris B designed the scenario).


Forces and objectives were also randomly drawn.


The map was basically composed of two widely spaced villages with quite a number of fields, hills and forest on the board.


Commander Chris was given the orders of defending towns A and B. Given his available forces, he decided town B was under the greater threat and so deployed his elite commandos in that town, in a nearby field and the majority behind the hedge looking across a series of fields, the direction a mass German infantry assault was expected (as little other cover was available). An Achilles and Churchill were positioned in the nearby field to the right of the town to cover the open ground in front of the town. A remaining Churchill covered the other side in case of a surprise attack from that ‘open’ side (though this was also covered by more armour, see later). A mortar was positioned in some woods further behind the village to lend support.


A weaker infantry force was available to defend town A but more armour was available and a 6-pounder was positioned in the village looking down the road. A Firefly and two Shermans were positioned in the forest in the centre of the board with good fields of fire and in a position to fire upon any enemy trying to get round town B’s open side. Another Firefly and two Shermans were positioned further back in the forest in a position to cover the road running into town A.


The Germans deployed in two roughly equal forces. Pete’s forces behind the hill overlooking town B and a mass of troops ready to assault town B through the cover of the series of fields. Lisa’s forces meanwhile would have to cross some open ground to approach town A.


The game commences with some smoke laid down by German mortar fire and infantry support tanks. His massed infantry cross the fields unseen towards town B. Lisa’s forces make a stealthy approach to the edge of their cover. The British having prepared their defences do nothing. A hull-down German Stug is spotted on the hill overlooking town B but no shots are exchanged.


The Germans continue to move into the field adjacent to town B under the cover of smoke. At the same time, Lisa’s Germans dash across some open ground revealing some Panzer IVs, half-tracks and infantry. The lone Churchill on that side open fires and destroys a half-track. The Churchill is spotted and is a nasty surprise for the German infantry crossing towards it with nothing but a hedge between them.


The smoke lifts (rather than give the British a +1 modifier on forces emerging from fog) and the Germans crossing the field to close assault any infantry behind the hedges are met by a solid hail of fire from a line of elite commandos lying in wait behind the hedge, the Churchill and a medium-machine gun from the town. The Germans take heavy casualties with most of them being driven back or killed while a number close assault the commandos who now outnumber them. A German anti-tank gun is spotted behind a hedge and is targeted by mortar fire.


Lisa’s Germans meanwhile continue to creep along the side of the board with a lone infantry squad dashing across open ground near the forest. Two tanks open fire from the forest. The German infantry squad commander and a unit of infantry make it across to the cover of a hill but their weapons stand and the other infantry unit are forced back.


As Chris L has only positioned some armour in the forest, and seeing a possible infantry assault coming, he hastily sends infantry reinforcements to protect the tanks there. As these will take some time, he moves his supporting armour to join the other tanks in the forest leaving a Sherman and recon Stuart V to cover the road with a 6-pounder in town.


The German infantry crossing the fields towards town B are repelled suffering heavy losses. Their anti-tank gun crew have fallen under the mortar fire. Trying to support his forces Pete moves his two Stugs across the open to the remainder of his forces. However, they are fired upon by two tanks in the field to the right of town B. Taking fire from the side, one of the Stugs is destroyed while the other makes it across. Pete’s attack against superior forces in defence has been stifled. He hasn’t the forces to attack as his remaining infantry is heavily out-numbered and out-gunned. He also only has one Stug against three British tanks. They are unable to spot enemy troops for mortar fire and their AT gun is no longer operational.


The weight of the German objective falls on the shoulders of Lisa. Her troops that previously fell back to cover make another attempt to cross the open but this time are destroyed by the two tanks still sitting in the forest. A Panzer IV is sent to approach the forest from behind but as it is crossing the view of the town, the British open fire with their 6-pounder. A round of high velocity shell penetrates its armour and destroys the tank.


Moving her remaining Panzer IV to a hull-down position behind the hill (out of sight of the town), she spots a Sherman and Stuart V in the open behind another hill. At this range the Sherman is unlikely to do any damage and fires a round of smoke in front of the Panzer hoping to survive this round. Two high velocity rounds hit the Sherman almost destroying it. It is forced back into cover around the hill. The smoke also means the Stuart can retreat next turn under the cover of smoke.


Commandos crossing the open from town B to the forest come under enemy mortar fire and the Stug which has worked itself onto the other side of the fields. The commandos take some hits and are forced back. Seeing the Stug in the open, the 2 Shermans and the Firefly in the forest opposite the Stug open fire with the Firefly’s 17-pounder shell delivering a killing blow.


The game ended here with a full British victory. Both towns were held by the British while the German accomplished none of their objectives. In a German oversight they only needed to capture town A and did not have to attack town B (which was full of elite commandos). However, in the random draw of the forces, the Germans picked their worst force while the British selected their best.


The Germans were pretty much on a highway to nowhere from the start.


And the German riposte:


Highway to no where: great title.

You could mention how war weary, old Oberst Jaeger felt when he saw the commander of the panzer grenadiers for the first time: "We ask for men, they send us . . . " What was the Reich coming to? In charge of what was left of the best of the Wehrmacht and not even started shaving yet.

You could mention how war weary, old Oberst Jaeger felt when he realised his two company infantry attack was not facing a few platoons, but the best part of a battalion...his men caught in the open because he had put them there.

You could mention how war weary, old Oberst Jaeger felt when he re-read his orders and realised that the disastrous infantry attack had been totally unnecessary...and he only had himself to blame.

You could mention how war weary, old Oberst Jaeger felt when he discovered only later from decrypted (and yes, I really had to get my enigma machine going on this,) intercepts that there was another troop of Churchills and Archers in that village that he didn't even know about!

As the battered remnants of the battalion's last remaining company trudged eastward along the same road he had charged down towards the blood red setting sun only four years before, war weary, old Oberst Jaeger knew they would never see the happy time of 1940 again.

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